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Proceedings Paper

Autonomous chemical and biological miniature wireless-sensor
Author(s): Bar-Giora Goldberg
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Paper Abstract

The presentation discusses a new concept and a paradigm shift in biological, chemical and explosive sensor system design and deployment. From large, heavy, centralized and expensive systems to distributed wireless sensor networks utilizing miniature platforms (nodes) that are lightweight, low cost and wirelessly connected. These new systems are possible due to the emergence and convergence of new innovative radio, imaging, networking and sensor technologies. Miniature integrated radio-sensor networks, is a technology whose time has come. These network systems are based on large numbers of distributed low cost and short-range wireless platforms that sense and process their environment and communicate data thru a network to a command center. The recent emergence of chemical and explosive sensor technology based on silicon nanostructures, coupled with the fast evolution of low-cost CMOS imagers, low power DSP engines and integrated radio chips, has created an opportunity to realize the vision of autonomous wireless networks. These threat detection networks will perform sophisticated analysis at the sensor node and convey alarm information up the command chain. Sensor networks of this type are expected to revolutionize the ability to detect and locate biological, chemical, or explosive threats. The ability to distribute large numbers of low-cost sensors over large areas enables these devices to be close to the targeted threats and therefore improve detection efficiencies and enable rapid counter responses. These sensor networks will be used for homeland security, shipping container monitoring, and other applications such as laboratory medical analysis, drug discovery, automotive, environmental and/or in-vivo monitoring. Avaak’s system concept is to image a chromatic biological, chemical and/or explosive sensor utilizing a digital imager, analyze the images and distribute alarm or image data wirelessly through the network. All the imaging, processing and communications would take place within the miniature, low cost distributed sensor platforms. This concept however presents a significant challenge due to a combination and convergence of required new technologies, as mentioned above. Passive biological and chemical sensors with very high sensitivity and which require no assaying are in development using a technique to optically and chemically encode silicon wafers with tailored nanostructures. The silicon wafer is patterned with nano-structures designed to change colors ad patterns when exposed to the target analytes (TICs, TIMs, VOC). A small video camera detects the color and pattern changes on the sensor. To determine if an alarm condition is present, an on board DSP processor, using specialized image processing algorithms and statistical analysis, determines if color gradient changes occurred on the sensor array. These sensors can detect several agents simultaneously. This system is currently under development by Avaak, with funding from DARPA through an SBIR grant.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5778, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV, (20 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.606479
Show Author Affiliations
Bar-Giora Goldberg, Avaak Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5778:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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